Same old teens

On many measures of wellbeing, today’s teens are not much different from teens in their parents’ generation, concludes a study by the Foundation for Child Development.

Among the most vivid similarities: Today’s teens read about as well (or as poorly) as their parents did a generation ago and aren’t much more likely to have earned a high school diploma.

Also unchanged: suicide rates. Then, as now, they were about 4.5%

The study looked at 1975-77 statistics and 2003-05 numbers.

As commenters have pointed out, that suicide rate must be 4.5 per 100,000.

It found that although a few things have changed substantially — family mobility is down, teen birth rates are down and rates of smoking, drinking and drug use are on the decline — teenagers today read no better than their parents did, though their math skills have improved slightly.

Today’s teens face a much lower risk of death from accidents, violence or disease. They’re slightly more likely to be poor and much more likely to be overweight or obese.

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  1. Interesting study. I also find it interesting that quite a few of my teaching peers always bemoan about “kids these days.” And, in all honesty, I must admit that it’s easy to get caught up in that. I always remind myself and ask them, are kids really that different OR has our patience eroded as we as teachers age? I find that I have less patience/tolerance than I did 20 years ago. I suspect that is true with most teachers. Now wouldn’t that be an interesting study?

  2. Michael M says:

    4.5% Suicide rate! Somebody should check the math on this one.

  3. Suicide rates of 4.5%? I’ve never met anyone in my entire life who committed suicide, so I don’t believe this number. We graduated 292 in my high school class. If 4.5% were correct, we should have had about 13 suicides. So–I call B.S.

  4. Reality Czech says:

    I can think of at least 3 suicides off the top of my head.

  5. Hmm… wonder if that’s ATTEMPTED suicide rate?

  6. linda seebach says:

    Given how suicide rates in general are reported, the number was probably 4.5 per 100,000 rather than 4.5 per 100.

    But what’s three orders of magnitude between friends?

  7. Just a guess, but would that be 4.5% of teenage deaths caused by suicide? Seems a far more reasonable figure.

  8. My mistake – its on page 22 of the report:

    The graph mixes percentages and per-hundred-thousand with questions about religion (figures are percentages) and suicide rate (as guessed earlier, per 100,000).

    Dumb graph, lazy journalist.

  9. Mrs. Davis says:

    Old fogeys haven’t changed much either.

    There is nothing new under the Sun.